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NY Fire Department's 9/11 Radio Dispatches

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NY Fire Department's 9/11 Radio Dispatches


The Fire Department of New York's radio dispatches from the morning and early afternoon of 9/11. For over three years, they fought in court to keep these recordings secret but were finally forced to release them in August 2005.

The audio CDs were obtained and ripped to MP3 by The Memory Hole, then posted here. For more information, see


Reviewer: BenjaminS.T. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 14, 2014
Subject: NY Fire Department's 9/11 Radio Dispatches
At the time of this review I don't think I could get myeslf into having enough focus and dedication to listen to all of this audio becasue there is so much of it, but I appreciate its historical significance. I give NY Fire Department's 9/11 Radio Dispatches a five star rating.
Reviewer: liv4sun - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 14, 2014
Subject: please help the heros
Let their sacrafaices not go in vain as Obama passes a new bill allowing any an all responsible parties to such evil premeditated mass murders off the hook. NO GOVERNMENT shall go unpunished. If Charles Manson Cannot get off scott free Bush should not be allowed 2 boast about his involvement in Sep 11th events. He claims reposibility HE promised he would hold those responisable for these actions. Make him keep his word.
Reviewer: mkuktx - - September 11, 2013
Subject: Inquire About Copyright‏
Dear Sir or Madam,

i'm investigation about the possibilities of using the FDNY 9/11 audio fetured here in documentaries or movies.

Are this audios cover by some kind of restriction of copyright? It would be very helpful to know about this subject

Thanks in advance
Reviewer: q64ceo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 22, 2012
Subject: Manhattan dispatches
I have enhanced the volume level of the dispatcher. You may grab it from here:

AS for the content, I find myself listening to it more oft than one should. I dont know why, I just cannot put 9/11 out of my mind.
Reviewer: KMD877-KMG983 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 25, 2012
Subject: It's a complicated issue
I'm retired from the west coast fire service and emergency / disaster planning. A great deal can be learned from these recordings. As in any unprecedented event of this magnitude, there can be many problems that exceed the experiences and skill sets of emergency managers and systems.

This event occurred at the tip of an island where access and egress is limited. An initial incident, by itself of "disaster" proportions, kept compounding with the second crash followed by two successive building collapses. Twice emergency managers and responders found themselves in total blackout conditions while being pelted with everything from shards of glass to huge pieces of structural steel. Local communications systems failed. Utilities (including water supply) failed.

I would offer two specific comments. Before anyone rushes to judgment over periods of apparent disorganization as this event unfolded, the tapes only tell part of the story. A lot of communications relied on low power "line of sight" handheld radios that sometimes worked, sometimes didn't and we have no way of knowing what issues the commanders were trying to deal with during all of this or the difficulties they faced each time they had to regroup and reorganize. I can say from working in disaster situations that there was probably a whole lot of activity and traffic going on not covered in the tapes.

Secondly, we all have to give props to the dispatchers who were handling an avalanche of phone, radio, MDT and KDT traffic for this incident as well as having to find and coordinate resources to cover other emergencies throughout the city, most of which didn't show up on the recorded channels. Those men and women remained relatively cool and in my opinion contributed hugely towards getting this event reorganized and orderly.

FDNY did face some classic problems relating to resources being funneled over limited points of access, primarily the Brooklyn Bridge, with units finding themselves log jammed as they tried to get into the emergency zone. That's a universal problem when response route options are limited and I can tell you it's frustrating to be sitting with a bunch of engines waiting for someone to figure out how to get you to an emergency scene. However these problems have to be thought through and access restored before units can be brought in.

While we do things a little differently out west because earthquakes, huge wildfires and floods are part of our "regular routines," given the unprecidented conditions that confronted FDNY, overall they did a remarkable job. When all of the tapes (Manhattan, Brooklyn, EMS) are taken in context, there is a great deal that can be learned from these recordings and a great deal of respect is due the FDNY.
Reviewer: emdispatch - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 4, 2011
Subject: prayers
To all the brother and sisters lost

"God, our Father, walk through my house and take away
all my worries and illnesses and please watch over and heal my
family in Jesus name, Amen."
Reviewer: Rev Kathy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 16, 2011
Subject: the Bravest and the Best
I have listened to these tapes maybe 20 times. Yes, there was confusion. But the calm of the Dispatchers and the EMS dispatchers was beyond admirable. Hearing people were jumping and when they realized the Command Center was lost they persevered, knowing many had just lost their lives. The Firefighters, Police, EMS and Port Authority Police will live forever in our hearts. Many voices on these tapes were silenced by the tragic horror of 9/11. They ring in my ears and I thank God for all the heroes, deceased and survivors.
Reviewer: Deano1972 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 2, 2010
Subject: 9/11
What a sad day! Then on Friday where I worked an officer was killed by a drug dealer. Here is a link She was an awesome lieutenant. I am so glad that they killed the one who took her life.
Reviewer: SteveBros - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 25, 2006
Subject: EMS Tape
Speaking as an EMT at FDNY EMS Station 19 in The
Bronx, My fellow EMTS/PARAMEDICS ,and fellow
Firefighters,Civillian Volunteers,Port Authority
Employees did a good job inspite of the confusion
of that day. Unfortunately I was two years to
late, I got sworn in 7/7/04 as an EMT. It's a
gut wrenching feeling for me to listen to The
I worked in Manhatten before and two of the Units
I worked on are involved, 04-Henry, and 07-Charlie
were sent in. At The EMS ACADEMY IN QUEENS AT
Fort Totten, I had the pleasure of having
instructors that were there that day, and they
said IT WAS A TOTAL CLUSTER F----. The Musuem in
the basement at the academy has artifacts from the
93 Bombing and 9/11. Also I like to add we lost
two medics, and recently two EMTS from the
asbestos they inhaled. The starting salary for
Emt when I came aboard was 27,900, and we recently
got an 8% raise. If you want more details visit
The unoffical FDNY EMS PAGE- EMS Still the best
inspit of FDNY Incompetence. Sanatation gets more
then EMS. Now don't get me wrong they should be
paid a good wage, but they should pay EMS the same
rate of pay,because we have to take a college
level course to perform our jobs. Bottom line is
The City of New York does not consider our job
hazzardous, so we don't get paid a livable wage.

Reviewer: amidar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 7, 2006
Subject: A day for heroes
These tapes prove forever the FDNY title of "The Bravest". From the calm voices of fire fighters and chiefs, many of whom died that day, to the desperate calls from trapped firemen and civilians, this is a historical snapshot of the worst day in my living history.
Forget all the BS conspiracy theories, these tapes show again and again that firemen and EMS run in while veryone else runs away.
May God Bless Them All.
Reviewer: Critter183 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 6, 2006
Subject: True life heros in action!
I have to respectfuly disagree with k1mgy, about the reason for fighting the release of these tapes. Having listened to them in their entirety, I see nothing at all to be ashamed of. In fact, I see everything to be proud of. I don't pretend to know thier reasons, but I can say that the FDNY had everything to be proud of that day.

These people performed heroically from the minute they arrived on the scene. Despite all sorts of chaos and confusion brought about by conditions that only a very few could ever imagine, they never flinched in the performance of their duties.

To say that it was an efort to hide anything is... well... unspeakable.

God rest the souls of Ney York's Bravest!
Reviewer: Samizdat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 4, 2006
Subject: "Freedom Tower" Is an Abomination
Excellent work was obviously done gathering this material. I'll revise this review once I've heard all recordings. The sounds of Battalion 7 Chief Orio Palmer and his huffing and puffing assistant, Lieutenant Stephen Belsen, who was trying to reach the older but far better-conditioned man (yes, I've learnt the names of many of these heroes, as I'm sure you have as well), are awe-inspiring. They had no idea the South Tower was about to fall, and they inside, high up, along with it.
They had no idea that Thermate charges had been working on the steel structure for at least an hour, cutting through steel that a fleet of Boeings could not.

I will not soap box on your work here, my friend.

But I will not leave for now, without stating that the demon who stood over the sacred graves at Ground Zero, bleating into his bullhorn, was, and is, no man.

See Alex Jones' 2003 documentary "911: the Road to Tyranny" right here on the Internet Archive:
Reviewer: k1mgy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 22, 2005
Subject: Confusion, disorganization, disaster
These tapes - all of them - but particularly those of the Manhattan dispatch and the Port Authority Repeater - demonstrate what happens when an efficient, well trained fire department is faced with a rapidly-unfolding disaster of a scale never before faced. Their job, one paid for by many wasted lives, was to save as many of the innocent as possible. Many of these crews rushed into one, then the other building, struggling to reach trapped occupants. Most people run from a burning structure. Firefighters often rush in. But they know the limits of what they do and, with proper communications and procedures, generally do not go beyond a reasonable limit where their own lives are put in unnecessary risk.

Except in this case.

Communications were a shambles. Crews continued on. Procedures were non-existent. A situation like this had never been faced. Crews continued on. The scene had all the markings of disaster with people hurling themselves from smashed windows 70 and more floors above the ground. Crews continued on.

Elevators in one building would not go beyond the 40th floor and so firefighters and their commanders struggled on foot, with heavy equipment, up the narrow stairways, some climbing 30 or more floors to find "many" of the dead and injured. In the end, just prior to one collapse, firefighters were using axes to free themselves from a jammed elevator, "chopping our way out". A division chief, leading his crews, struggled his way to the 74th floor, to find fire, dangerous openings in the stairwell walls leading to deadly drops, and more bodies.

The New York Fire Department bitterly fought to prevent the release of these recordings. Having listened carefully to them all, more than once, I understand why. They stand as an indictment against the Department's lack of communications skill and facilities; lack of coordination with other agencies; lack of training for this level of situation; lack of cooperation and coordination even among their own command structures.

Individual heroics were not enough to overcome these. Many died, in my view, unnecessarily because of them.

I do not know if, by listening to these recordings, others will be left with the same impressions. Perhaps the evaluations are best left to the professionals, yet a sinking, disturbed sense that things could have turned out much differently remain. The deficiencies that these recordings evidence may leave you, too, with the same emptyness. A loss that no man with a bullhorn standing upon a sacred grave will ever fill.
Reviewer: Condorsoldier - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 24, 2005
Subject: The truth hurts.. but must be free.
People try to hide away pain and suffering, to forget what has happened. By doing so we damn ourselves to repeat 9/11. You cannot hide knowledge of the wolf from the shepherd. Listen and learn, so you will know what the wolf brings.
In Collection
Community Audio
Uploaded by
Russ Kick
on 9/19/2005
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